Wildlife Gardeners’ Question Time and Shared Supper (NB start time 7pm)

Wildlife Gardeners’ Question Time and Shared Supper (NB start time 7pm)

Wednesday 12 June 2024
7:00 pm - 9:30 pm

Ashburton Arts Centre

Community Event

Book here now: donate a tenner, a fiver or book a free ticket – please pay what you can*

Private gardens in Britain cover an area bigger than all of the country’s nature reserves combined. If we make them wildlife-friendly and connect them to the wider natural landscape, we can help nature thrive and cope better with the pressures of climate change and urbanisation. Our gardens can be beautiful, productive and wildlife friendly.

How can we improve our gardens, fields and community spaces to help nature thrive?
How can we make our community abundant for wildlife and people?
Join our panel of amazing local experts for this special version of Gardeners’ Question Time and gather with other local wildlife lovers to ask questions, explore ideas, share food and celebrate nature.

7pm Gardeners’ Question Time: please submit questions in advance to ruthleonardwilliams@gmail.com so that we can pick a range. We might also take questions from the audience on the night.

8pm Shared food and conversation. Please bring a dish of food to share if you are staying for this part. (preferably vegetarian/vegan, with a note/label listing the ingredients in case of allergies).

This event launches Ashburton’s first Wildlife Gardens Weekend (15/16 June), celebrating nature on our doorstep. Visit ashburtonclimateemergency.com for a full programme of Open Gardens and wildlife activities.


Elaine Hughes is chartered member of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture. She used to work for London Wildlife Trust as its in-house Wildlife Gardener, managed its demonstration wildlife garden and campaigned for wildlife-friendly gardening. She also designed and built a show garden at the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show, which was a showcase for wildlife-friendly gardening and won a gold medal. She has since been self-employed as a landscape designer across a range of commercial, community and private projects with a special interest in designing wildlife-friendly spaces. She is currently training to be a medicinal herbalist.

Rupert Baker is a consultant and plantsman who works in arboriculture, woodland management, forestry and horticulture, though also ‘get his hands dirty’. He has over 40 years’ experience working professionally in these fields, including tree consultancy, woodland management and planting schemes, veteran tree management and arboretum and orchard design. He is a specialist in fruit tree pruning, and is a Devon hedge-layer. Rupert is fascinated by the evolution of the landscape, and how an understanding of geology, soil science, climate, plant communities and the history of humanity’s interaction with these factors allows one to ‘read’ landscapes.

Mandy Barber is founder and director of Incredible Vegetables in Ashburton, Devon. She is a researcher of perennial edible plants, budding plant breeder and seed saver, and runs a permaculture plant nursery. She is passionate about researching sustainable food crops that have built-in resilience, as well as wild edibles that have the potential to become future staple foods. Incredible Vegetables aims to create a diverse reserve of useful perennial edible plants that also have wider benefits for insects, soil, climate, habitat and wildlife.

Hayley Herridge has always been fascinated by plants in wild landscapes, insects (in particular bees) and gardening. These passions have informed her career and her lifestyle, as a passionate wildlife gardener, environmental educator, and conservationist. In 2023, through combining her love of gardening and wildlife, her new business The Pollinator Gardener was born. Hayley continues to champion wildlife conservation through her garden design and gardening work and is currently a student of Garden and Landscape Design at the Eden Project, Cornwall. She is developing her practice to become an ecologically-focused garden designer, creating beautifully immersive, functional spaces that are buzzing with life.

Pip Harris (chair) is a retired educator, facilitator and community worker, environmental and peace campaigner, enthusiastic but somewhat chaotic amateur wildlife gardener, baker and craftivist. A former trustee of Devon Wildlife Trust, she is currently on the board of Ashburton Community Arts Centre.

Donations will be split between Devon Wildlife Trust, local wildlife charities and the Arts Centre.


See Access, Tickets & Finding Us for more about why there are three ticket prices, plus other useful info about coming to events at Ashburton Arts Centre: getting here, parking, loos, PA tickets, etc.